By most accounts, the launch of the “Do the Right Thing’’ campaign by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in March 2012 opened a new channel for the promotion of sound ethical values in the Nigerian society.
Observers maintain that the campaign will particularly aid the achievement of the salient goals of the Federal Government’s Transformation Agenda.
The Director-General of NOA, Mr Mike Omeri, expressed the determination of the agency to revamp the country’s image via the campaign, which was launched in collaboration with Global Priority, a non-governmental organisation (NGO).
He said that in the campaign, concerted efforts would be made to restore the cultural values and ethics of the Nigerian society, as part of designed efforts of showcase the country’s greatness, sovereignty and socio-economic viability to the outside world.
Omeri stressed that national values constituted the social capital of any nation that truly wanted to become great in every sphere of life, adding that the country’s government and citizens were also expected to embrace the values.
He also said that any nation that was desirous of any meaningful development ought to have a national values system, which its citizens must necessarily adopt, in efforts to achieve national development goals and strategies.
As part of efforts to strengthen the “Do the Right Thing’’ campaign, NOA organised a national workshop on the salient themes of the campaign for public officials in Abuja late last year.
The Abuja workshop involved only public officers alone but the campaign is expected to cover other cities and higher institutions across the country.
The participants at the Abuja workshop stressed that social vices in the country such as corruption, nepotism, terrorism, among others, could be effectively addressed if Nigerians chose to be honest and patriotic.
They also emphasised that Nigeria would experience an exponential growth if the citizens refrained from deceit, fraudulent activities, theft of public funds and living false lives.
In her remark, Mrs Theresa Maduekwe, a participant from NOA, underscored the need for Nigerians to cultivate high moral standards, while imbibing virtues such as humility.
Besides, Maduekwe said that core values such as patriotism, justice and fair play were very germane to all national development aspirations.
“It is necessary to imbibe these national core values, while shunning social vices. Also, the time has come for Nigerian leaders to be honest in the management of the nation’s resources,’’ she said.
A facilitator at the workshop, Mr Brian Mbaya, stressed that hard work should form part of the national core values which Nigerians exhibited in all situations.
He, however, underscored the need for Nigerians to offer constructive criticisms on perceptible aberrations in government activities with a view to setting the agenda for a purposeful change.
“Nigerians should also help the government to give good governance by performing their own civic responsibilities as good citizens of the country.
“Tolerance is another virtue which Nigerians should exhibit, as they ought to accommodate other people, their opinions or beliefs, in spite of any socio-cultural differences,’’ he noted.
Sharing similar sentiments, Omeri said that the Federal Government’s Transformation Agenda should begin the transformation of the people’s mindset, regardless of their positions in the society.
“Such approach will definitely aid the success of the agenda,’’ he added.
However, the campaign, which also involves a nationwide tour of the country’s tertiary educational institutions, took place at the University of Calabar in December, 2012.
That particular aspect of the campaign, which has “Nigerian Tertiary Institutions of Learning — Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Implications for National Transformation’’ as its theme, took place at the new auditorium of the university.
Speaking at the event, Omeri noted that the nation’s tertiary institutions had come to a crisis point where all wrong values had found their way into the insitutions, leading to the production of half-baked graduates who never represented the values of the Nigerian society.
Stressing that the quality of a country’s human resource base was a dependent variable in national development efforts, Omeri underscored the need to stimulate the evolution of a well-educated and enlightened citizenry that exhibited the values of honesty, hard work, patriotism, obedience and tolerance.
“In like manner, the concern of institutions of higher learning should be, in addition to academic excellence, the strength of character and moral uprightness of its products. This is so because knowledge, skills and competence without character do not make a complete man,” he said.
Some of the speakers blamed the political class for the corruption in Nigeria which, they noted, had particularly stunted the development of the youth.
The speakers also identified incessant disputes, brain-drain in the academia, under-funding or poor financing of education, cultism, corruption and abuse of trust as some of the major challenges facing the educational sector.
In his goodwill message, the Senate Leader, Sen. Victor Ndoma Egba, urged the citizens, particularly students, to continue to have faith in Nigeria with a fervent hope that the future would be better.
He, however, challenged the citizens to strive harder to contribute to national development.
Prof. Femi Odekunle of the Department of Criminology, University of Abuja, advocated a return to sound moral and family values as a means of renewing commitment and patriotism among Nigerians.
At the launch of the campaign in Kano, the Director of NOA in Kano State, Alhaji Umar Muhammed, underscored the need for the national campaign in view of the Transformation Agenda of the Jonathan-administration and the need to modify the citizens’ attitude to national issues.
“The current state of the country and the behaviour of the people made it necessary for NOA to come up with a wake-up call for people to change their behaviour.
“The campaign is aimed at transforming the attitude of Nigerians, which has changed over time due to many events.
“I want to urge Nigerians to join the campaign and make sure they do the right thing at all times,’’ Muhammed said.
At the launch of the campaign in Jos, the NOA Director in Plateau, Mr Musa Chantu, stressed that Nigeria could only achieve the potential to become great if its citizens did things in the right way.
“It is the lack of doing the right thing across all strata of the society that has brought about the untold hardship which the country is currently going through.
“If we must attain our development goals as a country, it is incumbent on every Nigerian to insist on doing the right thing at all times.
“When everybody does the right thing; there will be no corruption and security challenge, while queues at filling stations and erratic power supply will be a thing of the past,’’ he said.
Chantu, however, expressed the optimism that Nigeria would one day become “an ideal country of our dream where everything would be working well devoid of anti-social factors such as corruption and insecurity’’.
He, nonetheless, urged the country’s leaders to always strive to lead by example, while ensuring justice and fairness in the country’s administration.
Observers insist that the NOA campaign should be strengthened to be all-encompassing crusade, involving all the segments of the Nigerian society.
Through that way, the campaign’s slogan — “Do the Right Thing’’ – will not turn out to be a mere jargon, some of them add.
Omolade writes for News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).